Valentine Colasante: Becoming Myrtha


Alessandro Bizzotto follows VALENTINE COLASANTE through dressing rooms, passages, make-up and hairstyle studios and the Foyer de la danse of the Palais Garnier. To find out how she gets ready to play the fierce queen of the Wilis in Giselle. An informal chat with the lovely première danseuse at the Paris Opéra Ballet. That shows us the backstage of (her) performance.

Valentine Colasante as Myrtha in "Giselle" © Svetlana Loboff

She is not stressed at all. Or, at least, she doesn’t look so. In her dressing room at the Palais Garnier, flooded with light and soft colors, Valentine Colasante talks to me with a luminous smile. Tonight she is dancing Myrtha, the merciless queen of the Wilis, ethereal men’s killer ghosts, in Giselle.
“I am not nervous,” she tells me. “I might have been slightly tense before the opening night, last week. However, I feel totally calm now. It is almost three hours to the beginning of the show. And, as Myrtha, I have the whole first act off: further time to concentrate and warm up.”

She will start to get ready for the show in a few minutes. As we chat, she is slowly sewing a pointe shoe. “I normally do it here in my dressing room, or at home, watching a movie.”
Valentine won her last and most important annual competition, at the Paris Opera Ballet, just a few years ago: at 23, she was promoted to première danseuse. This season has been filled with important debuts for her, from the leading role in Balanchine’s Theme and Variations to Gamzatti in La Bayadère.
It is not yet five o'clock when we stand up and leave her dressing room. Her white, winged dress is hanged just out of the door.

Photos by Alessandro Bizzotto 

“I’ll start whitening my neck and arms,” Valentine explains me while we walk along a long passage, “then just the first part of the make-up. You’ll see…”
The make-up room, when we enter, is almost empty. “Look at how white I will turn now!” she smiles. A make-up artist applies an extremely light base on Valentine’s neck and shoulders and arms. The atmosphere is friendly, relaxed.

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